Daniel Ellsberg, who knows a thing or two about leaks, fears for Julian Assange’s safety. I do to. Our president has announced that he believes in extra-judicial assassination, and that such action is OK when taken against terrorists, now just couple that with the doctrine that terrorists are those who disagree with the USA administration, and basically anything goes.
Daniel Ellsberg, the former US military analyst who released the pentagon papers in 1971, appeared on MSNBC today with Dylan Ratigan. He said he fears for the safety of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, who is reportedly on the verge of leaking secret State Department cables. The Daily Beast reports that Assange is currently being sought by the Pentagon, and Ellsberg advises him not to reveal his whereabouts.
“We have after all for the first time, that I ever perhaps in any democratic country, we have a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad, that he thinks is associated with terrorism,” says Ellsberg. “Now as I look at Assange’s case, they’re worried that he will reveal current threats. I would have to say puts his well-being, his physical life, in some danger now. And I say that with anguish. I think it’s astonishing that an American president should have put out that policy and he’s not getting these resistance from it, from Congress, the press, the courts or anything. It’s an amazing development that I think Assange would do well to keep his whereabouts unknown.”
RATIGAN: Do you see direct parallels between what’s developing here and what you went through?
ELLSBURG: Yes, there does seem to be an immediate parallel between me and whoever leaked the video on the assault on the 19 or 20 Iraqis. Someone–allegedly, it was Bradley Manning–did feel that that deserved to be out. the “Reuters,” whose newspapermen were killed in the course of that, had been trying to get that through the freedom of information act for two years, as I understand it and had been refused. Let’s say whoever did it, hypothetically, Bradley Manning, showed better judgment in putting it out than the people who kept is secret from the American people and from the Iraqis.
RATIGAN: What is your sense of disclosure of information to the American people today, compared to the period of time that you lived through, where there was similar issues with, with the perception of reality of information being withheld from the public?
ELLSBURG: Look, there’s no doubt at all, that enormous amounts of energy that should be made public are being withheld and that hundreds, probably thousands of people, I’m speaking now of the run-up to the Iraq war, which has a very great similarity to the lying and the secrecy that got us into Vietnam. I think if many people had recognized that their oath of office, which called them in to support the Constitution, really contradicted their promise to keep certain secrets, when those secrets concealed lies, concealed deception to the American public and getting us into a hopeless war, they should have given priority to the oath of office and they should have put that information out to Congress and the public. They should have done what I wish I had done much earlier than I did I had been in that position, too. I knew years before the Pentagon Papers came out that the Americans were being lied in to an essentially hopeless war. I’m not proud of the fact that it didn’t occur to me that my oath of office, which was to support the Constitution, called on me to put that information out and say, ‘64, when the war might have been avoided. But I certainly am glad that I finally came aware of what my real responsibilities were there. And I did put it out years later. At times, at that time, which published it, the “Times,” and the 18 other newspapers, which defied President Nixon’s injunctions and did put it out, were in the position of Julian Assange is in now. I’m very happy that he put it out and I congratulate him for it.